Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times

With the Internet surpassing print as our main news source, newspapers going bankrupt, and outlets focusing on content they claim audiences (or is it advertisers?) want, “Page One” chronicles the media industry’s transformation and assesses the high stakes for democracy if in-depth investigative reporting becomes extinct.

The film deftly makes a beeline for the eye of the storm or, depending on how you look at it, the inner sanctum of the media, gaining unprecedented access to the New York Times newsroom for a year. At the media desk, a dialectical play-within-a-play transpires as writers like salty David Carr track print journalism’s metamorphosis even as their own paper struggles to stay vital and solvent. Meanwhile, rigorous journalism—including vibrant cross-cubicle debate and collaboration, tenacious jockeying for on-record quotes, and skillful page-one pitching—is alive and well. The resources, intellectual capital, stamina, and self-awareness mobilized when it counts attest there are no shortcuts when analyzing and reporting complex truths.

[Synopsis courtesy of Sundance]

The First Monday in May

The First Monday in May follows the creation of The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s most attended fashion exhibition in history, “China: Through The Looking Glass,” an exploration of Chinese-inspired Western fashions by Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton. With unprecedented access, filmmaker Andrew Rossi captures the collision of high fashion and celebrity at the Met Gala, one of the biggest global fashion events chaired every year by Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour. Featuring a cast of renowned artists in many fields (including filmmaker Wong Kar Wai and fashion designers Karl Lagerfeld, Jean Paul Gaultier and John Galliano) as well as a host of contemporary pop icons like Rihanna, the movie dives into the debate about whether fashion should be viewed as art.

Ivory Tower

Ivory Tower questions the purpose of higher education in an era when the price of college has increased more than for any other service in the U.S. economy since 1978. While many college graduates struggle to find menial employment waiting tables and cleaning toilets, new student loans over the next 10 years will total $184 billion. Even the once-heroic, tuition-free holdout Cooper Union in New York City now charges students, thanks in large part to hedge fund loans and flashy facilities costing more than $170 million. [Synopsis courtesy of Sundance Film Festival]